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236             A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
had been folded many times so as to form a packet. He told me that it was a talisman inscribed with verses from the Quran and with certain magical symbols and spells. He said, furthermore, that the paper had been prepared at the Dervish meeting the other night, along with some other sheets, where it had received the impress, or magnetic influence, of the higher forces then evoked. It was also inscribed with my name (in Arabic). The "magic paper," as the old Sheikh called it, should be carried in my pocket on any occasion when I desired any particular enterprise to be successful, or in any place where hostile forces were to be feared.
He warned me, however, very frankly if somewhat naively, not to wear the talisman should I engage myself in intimate relations with a woman, as then it would be temporarily deprived of some of its power.
Although I had never asked for this strange gift, I accepted it as a matter of course, hoping for the best.
Abu Shrump lived in die village of Kurna, which is the nearest village to the bleak desolate Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, and he had, as the most distinguished personage in the place, received so many visits from Mr. Howard Carter during the many years when the latter had been excavating in the neighbourhood, that the two had become great friends.
In illustration of the efficacy of the second power of his "magic paper," the Sheikh told me that the excavated tombs had often been the haunt of frightful genii of a most evil character, who had been sealed up for ages within those tombs; and that he, Abu Shrump, had deliberately extended his protective power over his friend, Howard Carter, in order to protect the latter against the hostile genii. The fact that such a long trail of deaths or disasters had followed in the wake of other members of the archaeological expedition connected with the opening of King Tutankhamen's tomb, but had avoided Mr. Carter, was a point he impressed upon me.
Among the other activities of Sheikh Abu Shrump was the practice of healing. One day I watched a demonstration. A man came to him with rheumatic pains in the left thigh. He gently stroked the latter for a minute, recited a prayer from the Quran for another minute or two, and then told his patient that the pain would scon go. I took the trouble to folk>w up the history of this case and found that there was certainly a diminution of the pain3 although it was difficult for me to